A variety of potentially divisive issues, ranging from immigration to gun control, were discussed by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops during a national meeting in Baltimore last week. Dealing with the elephant in the room ought to be at the top of their agenda.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who is archbishop of the Galveston-Houston diocese, is ending a three-year term as head of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops. Much of his time in the post has been dominated by controversy over the church’s handling of predator priests — and those with even higher positions in the church.
Cardinal DiNardo has been involved personally in the scandal. He has been accused, like many others in the church, of not acting decisively enough after receiving reports of abuse. At one point, according to The Associated Press, investigators in Texas raided his chancery in search of documents involving one priest accused of molesting a child.
During a speech to the church officials gathered in Baltimore, the cardinal said meetings with abuse survivors “forever changed” his life. “When too many within the church sought to keep them in the darkness, they refused to be relegated to the shadows,” he said.
During the past few years, there has been much talk of reform from within the church. It was discussed again last week in Baltimore.
But as the bishops are aware, not enough is being done to ensure the church is transparent with regard to abuses by the clergy.
Cardinal DiNardo is right. He told those in Baltimore that steps taken to date “are only a beginning. More needs to and will be done.”
Let us hope so. Real transparency would be a good start.